How to Organize the Cat-Occupied Home
Is your house overflowing with cat stuff? Do you have cat-related items strewn around various places in your home? You’re not alone. Most of us have pockets of cat mess, and some of us struggle with a whole-house invasion of cat products -- toys, supplies, and equipment (not to mention hair).
In my house, the spare bedroom used to be the “cat room,” housing a couple of the litter boxes, extra litter, baggies, random toys, extra canned food, cleaning supplies, and discarded cat scratchers. Now the cat room is also my office. In order to maintain my sanity, I had to focus on getting the cat stuff under control.
Here are some things I learned about cat house organization.
1. Purge and Donate
Get rid of the stuff your cats aren’t using. If your cat wasn’t interested in the nip toy you bought six months ago, he probably never will be, so give it up. Plenty of shelters and rescues will welcome your used (but clean) toys, scratching posts, beds, towels, or litter pans.
Pare down to the essentials, and read on to manage what's left.
2. Organize Litter Box Area
This is probably the most disorganized cat area of the house, so keep your litter box area neat and organized and you’ve won half the battle.
Litter Scoops: Some litter boxes have a scoop hanger on the side, or even feature a couple of bins on one end where you can store your scoop and bags. You can also purchase scoops that come with their own stand, a la toilet brush holders.
Bags: If you use plastic grocery bags for litter box waste, keep them handy. Consider an organizer that mounts to the wall or inside a nearby closet, so you can pull a bag out when you need it.
Combo Racks: Plastic organization caddies can hold litter scoops and bags and other items such as air freshener or litter additive. I use a large clear storage bin and put two small bathroom-size plastic garbage cans inside. One holds the bags and the other holds the litter scoop. In the remaining space, I store extra litter. This keeps everything in one place.
3. Find a Place for Toys
Baskets are great to keep toys organized, but some cats love to dig into the mother lode and drag their toys all over the house. I use cubelike bookshelves with baskets that slide inside them. They look nice, and your playful kitty can’t get at her bounty of toys when you’re not looking.
4. Contain the Cat Food
The good news about canned food is you can stack the cans to keep them organized. Dry food bags are another story. You have the bag and the scoop. You have to keep the bag tightly sealed. It can be a big old pain. Popware has a product that solves that: a collapsible scoop that also serves as a bag clip. Genius!
You can also pour cat food into airtight plastic containers or even put the bag inside the container along with the scoop.
Finally, to control the mess around the food area, consider a rubber boot mat. I’ve tried all kinds of pet food mats, but the boot mat I found at Lowes is fantastic -– large enough to hold two cat dishes and a water bowl and with an inch-high lip to catch flying food and spilled water.
5. Keep Grooming Utensils Handy
I could never find my grooming gear until I put everything in one plastic caddy. Now whenever I need to groom the boys, Romeo and Pugsley, I just pull out the caddy and hunt them down for a session. I have everything I need –- combs, brushes, eye and ear wipes, and nail trimmers.
Another great way to keep all of your cat stuff in one place is to use an over-the-door shoe organizer. It’s big enough to hold grooming products, medicine, toys, treats, and more. Get the kind with clear pockets, so you can see what’s in there, and hang it over your closet door for easy access.
6. Store Important Documents Conveniently
Quick! Do you know where your pet’s records are? Adoption records, immunization records, and medical history are all things you don’t need until you need them. Keep them together in one safe place. If you already have a filing cabinet and system, great! If not, consider a three-ring binder where you can store all of your important cat-related papers. It's helpful when you have to grab info for the vet or in case of an emergency.
Also, because you probably won’t use it a lot, store the binder in an obvious spot –- by your cat supplies -– so you’re not hunting all over the house for it.
7. Make It Easy to Contain Pet Hair
For me, the key to controlling pet hair is to have tools at my fingertips. I keep one vacuum upstairs and one downstairs in conveniently located closets. I also have a Swiffer with a dry pad attached on each floor for easy hardwood and kitchen swipes.
To keep the family’s clothes (relatively) free of cat hair, I have little baskets containing sticky rollers in the bedroom, all bathrooms, and near the front door. If I have to go hunting for one, the pet hair removal will never happen.
Just like the other members of the family, pets can accumulate a lot of stuff. Create a plan for keeping their clutter under control and you’ll avoid cat gear explosion.